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DJ LaMahieu

(Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Signing DJ LeMahieu Was The Right Call For The Yankees

DJ LaMahieu
Signing DJ LaMahieu over Manny Machado was the right call for the Yankees (Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

I hate when the Yankees do smart things. It grinds my gears. I have made fun of the Yankees all season for turning themselves into the mid-market Cardinals. New York has uncharacteristically been outbid on prominent free agents despite having bigger pocketbooks. New York is finally starting to open up the wallet this offseason but are spending money in a more intelligent way.

Jack Curry of the YES Network is reporting that New York has signed infielder DJ LeMahieu to a two year contract worth $24 million. This transaction takes the Yankees out of the Manny Machado sweepstakes. New York will now round out their infield with Luke Voit, DJ LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres, and Miguel Andujar (until Didi Gregorius returns from Tommy John surgery). Signing LeMahieu was the right call for the Yankees.

Let’s start with the obvious. Most fans are dopes. The typical Yankees fan who grows a beard despite the fact that no player has them was rooting for the Yankees to sign Bryce Harper or Manny Machado. Harper flat out isn’t talented and Machado is a scumbag. $300 plus million? Hard pass. If you can’t figure out why that’s a bad idea, that’s a you problem. I’m not wasting another second talking about either of those two bozos.

DJ LaMahieu is a really good baseball player. $12 million per year is more than fair for the expected production you’re going to get. LaMahieu was a 3 WAR player in 2018. He’s a 3-time gold glove winner. In 2016, LaMahieu led the National League in average at .348. So let me get this straight, LaMahieu is a gold glove caliber fielder and can really hit. What are you complaining about? This is the media and fans not having a clue because they meat ride the wrong players.

The only thing you worry about with this deal is the same thing you worry about with any Colorado Rockies player. What happens when you take them away from Coors Field. In 2018, LaMahieu hit just .229/.277/.422 on the road. That’s flat out terrible so that concern is warranted. However, it’s not like Yankee Stadium is a tough ballpark to hit in. Yankee Stadium is a bandbox that belongs in the trash. It’s the king of can of corn home runs. LaMahieu’s power numbers may increase. Even watching him play, you always felt like he was capable of 20 bombs anyway. When you stretch the home-road splits to a 3-year sample size LaMahieu’s slash line of .277/.330/405 on the road is much more respectable. Worst case is LaMahieu stinks and the keys get handed back over to Didi. Not a ton of risk there.

Now can I still make fun of Cashman? Hell yeah! The Red Sox win the World Series and you come at me with DJ LaMahieu? The Yankees bullpen as of now is also worse after losing David Robertson. What the hell is a washed up Troy Tulowitzki going to do other than sit on the DL with Jacoby Ellsbury? James Paxton was a nice pickup. No Doubt. I’m sure he will spend his fair share of time on the DL too. BUT… Did you really close the gap on Boston? A team that returned virtually everyone from a 108 win World Champion ball club? Where is the star power outside of Aaron Judge?

LaMahieu is still only just 30 and should be in the prime of his career for the next two years. For $12 million per year, LaMahieu just has to be slightly better than around league average for that contract to be worth it. I don’t see why he can’t surpass that and his prior resume in the big leagues show that this was a great signing by the Yankees. Screw Machado. Don’t need him. How do you think that non-hustling jamoke would have played in NYC? DJ LaMahieu, as disgusted as I am to say it, was the right call for the Yankees.

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